Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Ploceidae

Scientific Name: Ploceus olivaceiceps
Species Authority: (Reichenow, 1899)
Common Name(s):
English Olive-headed Weaver
French Tisserin à tête olive

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Dowsett, R., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Leonard, P. & Oatley, T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Evans, M., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
This species is classed as Near Threatened because it is suspected to be experiencing a moderately rapid population decline, owing habitat destruction and degradation across its range. Any evidence of a rapid population decline may qualify this species for a higher threat category.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Ploceus olivaceiceps is known from scattered areas in Malawi (nine main locations, all of which are legally, but not effectively, protected) (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. J. Dowsett in litt. 1997, 2000), Zambia (apparently localised, but perhaps more widely distributed, in suitable habitat along the Malawi border, including at least one protected area [Dowsett et al. 1999a]), Tanzania (uncommon in Songea District [Britton 1980], and recently recorded from the north, south of Lake Victoria [T. Oatley in litt. 1999], and Karumwa [Fry and Keith 2004], suggesting that it may occur at low density in a huge area of intervening habitat in west Tanzania [T. Oatley in litt. 1999]), and northern and southern Mozambique (Clancey 1996, Nuttall 1998, Parker 2001). The total population in 1998 was estimated to be c.20,000 pairs (Parker 2001).

Countries occurrence:
Malawi; Mozambique; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zambia
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 231000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1700
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total population was estimated at 20,000 pairs in 1998, roughly equating to 60,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: Unknown Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species is associated with mature Brachystegia woodland (up to 1,700 m [F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. J. Dowsett in litt. 1997, 2000]) where Usnea lichen is abundant (Nuttall 1998). It is found in the canopy, sometimes in mixed-species flocks. It feeds on a variety of insects, including lepidopterans (Fry and Keith 2004). This species is a solitary and monogamous breeder, and pairs remain together all year. Its nest, in which 2-3 eggs are laid, is constructed entirely from Usnea and always placed in a thick clump of lichen. Egg-laying occurs in August-October (Fry and Keith 2004).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 4
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is considered threatened throughout Mozambique (Parker 2001), where slash-and-burn agriculture is rapidly transforming woodland into farmland (Parker 2001), and its woodland sites in Malawi face the same pressures for land and fuel (Nuttall 1998), despite legal protection (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. J. Dowsett in litt. 1997, 2000). Since similar threats are likely to be affecting its habitat in Tanzania and Zambia, and intensifying, there is a risk that it may suffer a rapid decline in the future.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
This species occurs in at least 10 protected areas (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. J. Dowsett in litt. 1997, 2000, Dowsett et al. 1999a).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain an estimate of the total population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation across its range. Effectively protect habitat at all sites where it is known to breed.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Ploceus olivaceiceps. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22719036A38321803. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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